|Posted on May 7, 2007|
|When Dr. Marv Eastlund contacted Carolina Skiff about the possibility of manufacturing a custom console and deck on a Carolina Skiff model 2390 DLX Extra Wide for his nephew, this seemed to be a normal consumer request. Once Dr. Eastlund explained that it was for ALS-stricken Matt White, however, it became evident that this was anything but ordinary.ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Charcot’s Disease, Lou Gehrig’s Disease and Motor Neuron Disease, is a major neurological disorder that destroys motor neurons that are an important link in the nervous system, and through which the brain controls the voluntary muscles throughout the body. ALS strikes approximately 6 people per 100,000 per year, with the average life expectancy once diagnosed being two to five years. Although it most commonly occurs between the ages of 40 and 70, ALS can also occur in older people, and rarely in teenagers.As a result of ALS, 40-year-old White has lost the ability to use his arms and legs, and cannot speak, chew food, swallow or breathe on his own. He receives nourishment through a tube, air from a machine, and moves about in a wheelchair. As he can’t speak, White communicates through the use of a highly specialized computer. In spite of these impediments, White amazingly states via electronic transmission, “I love every minute I’m alive!”
Moved by White’s courageous struggle with this horrible disease and his love of fishing and boating with family and friends, Carolina Skiff quickly agreed to provide him with a custom raised rear deck with center-mounted live well, small console with tilt steering, poling platform, fuel tank and wiring harness for the 150 H.P. Evinrude outboard engine manufactured by BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products). Additionally, Gulf Coast Marine, Bob’s Machine Shop and Hodges Manufacturing—Carolina Skiff dealers and vendors—assisted Matt with the rigging, parts and accessories needed to complete this custom boat.
Joe Kirkland, President/CEO of Carolina Skiff states, “Matt’s story is, without doubt, one of the most amazing I have heard of either in or outside the boating industry. The difference between Matt and those of us who have fished from one of our boats is that he does not use his hands, but rather he fishes by using the movement of his eyes and a specially adapted laser device. ALS has altered his life, but not his love for the sport of fishing.” When asked why Carolina Skiff felt compelled to do this for White, Kirkland replied, “We felt compelled by Matt’s remarkable story and his passion for fishing.”
“One of the great tragedies of ALS is the number of activities that have to be given up,” says White. “I’m blessed to be able to enjoy the great sport of fishing in Southwest Florida … Thanks to the generous people at Carolina Skiff, BRP and others that made this possible, I’m able to safely and comfortably get the most out of the experience. Carolina Skiff, in particular, met my specialized needs, and helped me realize that anything is possible!”
Ranked fifth in the country in market share and units produced in the 16- to 24-foot boat category, Carolina Skiff, LLC manufactures a total of 48 different skiff and center console models ranging from 12 to 27 feet under the Carolina Skiff and Sea Chaser brands. Their products are best known for their outstanding quality, affordability, and variety of usage.
For more information on Carolina Skiff, LLC, contact their representative, ADventure Advertising, LLC, at (678) 730-4770 or e-mail Jeff@adventureadv.com. To learn more about White’s valiant story and how to offer support, visit www.cureals.org.